Comparison of integrated group therapy & group relaxation training for fibromyalgia (FM)

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OBJECTIVE: The efficacy of an integrated, psychological treatment
program was tested in a controlled study involving 27 patients
with chronic musculoskeletal pain (fibromyalgia).

DESIGN: The
experimental treatment program consisted of instruction in
various self-help techniques (e.g., cognitive behavioral
strategies, relaxation, physical exercises) as well as
information on chronic pain. Control groups were instructed
only in autogenic training. Measures of pain, daily
activities, general symptoms, and psychological functioning
were assessed before and after treatment, as well as at 4
months after termination of therapy (follow-up).

RESULTS: At
the end of treatment, 7 patients from the experimental group
and 2 from the control group showed significant clinical
improvement in 3 of 6 parameters (NS). At follow-up, the
improvement was still present in 5 experimental cases but in
none of the controls (p = 0.024). Successful patients had been
sick for a shorter period of time and were less impaired by
their condition.

CONCLUSIONS: Psychological interventions in
combination with physiotherapy can be effective in treating
fibromyalgia patients, especially if applied early.

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